Unit 1 - Communication and Professional Relationships with Children, Young People and Adults

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Unit 1 - Communication and professional relationships with children, young people and adults 1.1 The Importance of maintaining effective communication with children, young people and adults

Effective communication is key to developing and then maintaining relationships at all levels of teaching because the pupils have to be able to understand the messages that are being conveyed. Good communication and the ability to express ones feelings and thoughts is an important enabler to building trust between Teaching Assistant, pupils and other colleagues. Misunderstandings can quickly develop into conflict without effective and positive communication. Maintaining age appropriate levels of written and verbal communication is important as children develop. For example, words and phrases understood by Year 6 pupils may not be understood in earlier years. It is important to remember that effective communication is a two way process that requires both listening and speaking skills. Pupils that do not feel that they are being listened to or understood may tend to feel marginalised with the risk that they may withdraw into themselves and even give up. Listening

Active listening encourages pupils to feel confident that their contribution is valued. Positive body language, including facial expressions can help to grow the pupil’s confidence and also strengthen the relationship between pupil and Teaching Assistant. Maintaining eye contact with the pupil is very important. This helps the child to avoid distractions and maintain concentration. Questioning

Asking open questions is an important technique that encourages the pupils to express their thoughts and ideas and helps to test their understanding. How, why and what questions encourage the pupil to respond with more than a one word answer. It is important that pupils are encouraged to ask questions and not to become anxious if they do not understand a particular subject. Pupils should be encouraged to feel confident to ask questions and not to be worried about asking. Behaviour

Pupils will tend to learn behaviour from adults. It is therefore important to display the right behaviour in the classroom environment. Talking over pupils, shouting, showing impatience etc will not set the right example for children. Maintaining a calm, relaxed and confident manner helps to encourage the pupils to be open and communicative. Pupils must be confident that they can express their views without any sense of anxiety and they need constant encouragement to do so. Pupils react well to praise and positive encouragement. Praise should be given for effort, even when the achievement is less than ideal! Children also have to be able to communicate effectively with each other in order to develop relationships. This can be encouraged through structured play, circle time to encourage group discussion on lots of different subjects 1.2 Relationship Building

A key role of a Teaching Assistant is to build and then maintain good relationships with the children, their parents and other colleagues within the school. A positive relationship enables the Teaching Assistant to be a positive role model for the children, one that encourages the children to develop their boundaries within their relationship with adults. Maintaining positive relationships can be very difficult in times of increased stress but it is especially important that adults re-enforce the right values and behaviour through positive and negative events. Children

Children need to feel safe within the school environment in order to start to express themselves freely. A Teaching Assistant can provide a vital supporting role as the children develop their social skills. As stated previously, children will tend to learn behaviour from adults and it is therefore important for the Teaching Assistant to make good use of their relationships in order to encourage the children to be open and constructive in their behaviour. Teaching...
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